On Thursday, October 14th, Anne DeCourcey from HarperCollins and Ben White from Macmillan are sharing their recent picks while Nick Johnson from our friends at Libro.fm will be discussing the indie alternative to Amazon's Audible and will be sharing some favorite audiobooks.
Jeffries follows his popular book on the Frankfurt School Grand Hotel Abyss with this clever, charming, and ultimately damning story of Postmodernism. For Jeffries, the perennially slippery, maddeningly-overused postmodern is not simply the art but the zeitgeist of neoliberal capitalism, at once critical and complicit, always laced with an ironic detachment. Jeffries cleverly constructs each chapter around three things emblematic of postmodernism from the 1970s to the present and allows the hard work of defining terms and weightier philosophical issues arise when needed in the pursuit of his thesis and a good narrative. With a gleeful disregard for elitist hierarchies, find herein David Bowie, Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, Las Vegas, Princess Diana, Apple, Netflix, and the Rushdie Fatwa. Finally, Jeffries shows with a strong analysis threaded throughout the book from Nixon to Reagan & Thatcher to the economic crisis how income inequality and massive debt became ubiquitous today. An essential, entertaining cultural history of the last 50 years which has radically changed how I’ll forever think about Postmodernism. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
Besides living a little longer and crossing the Atlantic, Griffiths’ Mr. Beethoven is about the most carefully informed and deeply researched historical novel that I’ve read. The Handel and Haydn Society of Boston did reach out to Beethoven for a commission, and in this charming fantasia the Romantic titan comes to the young United States, composes an oratorio on the Book of Job, and learns a variety of sign language that existed on Martha’s Vineyard. Griffiths brings to vibrant life not only the composer, but the world of amateur musicians and pompous divines in provincial 1830s Boston. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
The Pulitzer Prize winning-historian of Thomas Jefferson and the Hemmingses of Monticello has crafted a slim, powerful book of history, family narrative, and memoir. Annette Gordon-Reed who integrated her grade school offers a distinct look at this country’s history of racism through the prism of Texas. From the Alamo (the origins of the Yellow Rose) to Six Flags (named after those that flew over Texas including the Confederate) On Juneteenth is a deeply informative and moving book that masterfully weds historical and cultural revisionism and personal memoir. Gordon-Reed has not only written one of the greatest books about Texas, but she brilliantly articulates the danger of an uncritical worship of historical figures. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood